Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. earned some less than favorable notices for last year’s third season, but with a new 10pm time slot and a turn to darker thematic territory the series has been widely seen as rebounding for season 4 – particularly thanks to Gabriel Luna’s turn as new semi-regular character Robbie Reyes, a.k.a. the supernatural hero Ghost Rider.
Now, with the season’s Winter finale fast approaching, a new teaser shows off the big events leading up to an impending cliffhanger.
Bifurcated seasons have become a tradition for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with each year’s major storyline building to a surprise revelation to close out the first half and keep fans guessing as to what will happen when the series returns. And while season 4 won’t be filling its off-weeks with an Agent Carter miniseries like seasons 2 and 3 did, it looks like it will otherwise be following the same structural conceit; with the last episode before the break being heralded as “Ghost Rider’s Last Stand.”
Introduced at the beginning of the broadcast year after a summer of heavy hype for the character, Ghost Rider has been the driving force of season 4’s storyline to this point, despite not technically being part of the main cast of characters and only tangentially related to the franchise’s ongoing story points involving S.H.I.E.L.D’s re-emergence as a government-run public agency and public fears about The Inhumans – whose existence was revealed in season 2. Instead, the Los Angeles-based hellfire-powered vigilante crossed paths with the Agents by chance as both found themselves pursuing ghost-like entities whose search for a haunted book (“The Darkhold”) was tied to The Rider’s origin.
As of Episode 7 (“Deals With Our Devils,”) both Ghost Rider and The Agents have discovered that Reyes’ uncle is the real villain they’ve been searching for – with the young antihero agreeing to let the Rider entity inhabit his body in perpetuity in exchange for the power to set things right. That would appear to be the “Last Stand” the episode promos refer to; though it’s unclear whether this means Ghost Rider will exit the series or have a diminished role going forward.
Notably, “Deals” set up a potentially higher-stakes storyline that will likely become more prominent in the season’s second half with Professor Radcliffe’s illegal android assistant Aida downloading data from The Darkhold in order to master a technique for rescuing Agents stranded in another dimension. While unknown to the human character, audiences were able to perceive that Aida is now capable of creating portals and energy-constructs similar to those used by the mystics in Doctor Strange. It also teased the birth of a new Inhuman character of unknown identity.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10pm on ABC.